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Burj Khalifa, Dubai | Shopping & Shows at the Tallest Building in the World

Standing at a height of 829.8m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been named the tallest building in the world by the Guinness World Records. The Burj Khalifa may be one of the most prestigious locations in the world, creating an iconic image of the Dubai skyline and drawing crowds of tourists and celebrities from all over the world. Seeing this structure is certainly a bucket list experience for travelers, but so are many of the activities found in and around the Burj Khalifa as well.

Burj Khalifa-Dubai-UAE-view

Things to Do at Burj Khalifa

Not only is the Burj Khalifa an impressive, world-record-shattering building, but it also has so much to offer guests. Visitors can feel both literally and figuratively as if they are on top of the world during their time at the Burj Khalifa.

At The Top

The highest outdoor observatory in the world offers incredible views of Dubai’s skyline at Levels 148, 125, and 124. Access can be found on the lower level of the Dubai Mall. Though the At The Top observation decks give you access to breathtaking views at any time of day, many people find that the best views can be seen just before sunset. Each level offers different experiences.

On Level 124

  • Ride the world’s fastest double-deck elevators (10m/s)
  • Use the high-powered telescopes
  • Walk out on the public outdoor observation terrace to get a better view of the skyline

On Level 125

  • Enjoy the 360-degree views from the spacious deck at 456m (1,496ft)
  • Via virtual reality, experience a thrilling adventure at the top of the Burj Khalifa
  • Use the green screen photography and special effects to capture your time at the Burj Khalifa

On Level 148

  • Experience a personalized tour from a Guest Ambassador
  • Enjoy the refreshments available from the SKY lounge, such as juice or Arabic coffee
  • Explore some of the most famous landmarks in Dubai via an interactive experience using motion senses and a life-size screen
  • Walk on the world’s highest outdoor observation deck at 555m (1,820ft)

At The Top is wheelchair accessible and family-friendly, as well as being safe for expectant mothers. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available throughout these levels. On average, most people find it takes about 90 minutes to enjoy a visit to At The Top, so if you’re planning on watching the sun set be sure to take this into account.

At.Mosphere – Fine Dining on Level 122

For incredible views and delicious food, book a table at At.Mosphere. In less than 45 seconds, the elevator will carry you up to the restaurant featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and luxe leather seats. Opt for the haute cuisine experience of a lifetime by booking a table for dinner, or indulge in the more budget-friendly breakfast or high tea. Breakfast is still quite an experience, with the Decadence menu costing AED 385 per person and including a cold platter, your choice of sweets, and your choice of main course served with veal sausage, smoked beef bacon, and sauteed mushrooms. The A La Carte breakfast menu offers a variety of options, from waffles to coffee-rubbed wagyu minute steak.

  • Tuesday nights at the At.Mosphere Lounge are Ladies Night from 9pm-12am. Starting at AED 200, guests can experience award-winning DJs, entertainment, and unlimited beverages.
  • Enjoy a morning coffee in the clouds from the At.Mosphere Lounge. Guests can sip the signature Kopi Luwak Gold Cappucino, featuring 24-karat gold flakes, or try the mocktail Kopi Luwak Martini.

The Burj Club

Found on Levels 19 to 108, The Residence offers 900 elegant one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments at one of the most sought-after addresses in the world. These affluent tenants live just steps from the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, and can view The Dubai Fountain show from their window. Not only that, they have access to The Burj Club.

  • The Burj Club is a four-story health and wellness club. It includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and a luxury spa. Non-residents can experience the rooftop brunch at the Burj Club, which includes pool access, every Friday from 12pm to 4pm. Brunch rates start at AED 195 for adults and AED 110 for children between the ages of 7-12. Children six and under dine complimentarily.
  • The Burj Club Spa offers specialized treatments such as hydropeptide facials, 30-minute express facials, and caviar collagen brightening treatments. A sauna, steam room, and thermal experience showers are available for spa guests as well.

The Lounge

Adding yet another bucket-list experience, the Burj Khalifa is home to the world’s highest lounge at 585m off the ground. Spanning Levels 152, 153, and 154, the lounge offers four separate events not to be missed.

  • Breakfast in the Clouds offers fresh-baked sandwiches, muffins, croissants, and sweet treats, as well as a tour of the terrace, starting at AED 618.
  • Tea in the Clouds provides guests with a selection of high-quality teas and coffee along with a delicious assortment of desserts and baked goods. This package starts at AED 618.

  • The Bubbly Sundowner provides live entertainment and a tour of the terrace to guests who can watch the sun set as they enjoy a variety of gourmet canapes. Rates start at AED 667.

  • Cocktails Under the Stars is a party on top of the world, featuring a resident singer, a glass of house beverage or bubbly, a tour of the terrace, and gourmet canapes. This package starts at AED 618.

The Dubai Fountain

Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa is another record-breaking structure – the tallest performing fountain in the world, The Dubai Fountain. Up to 22,000 gallons of water can be sprayed as high as 140m (459ft) into the air at any one time.

  • This unique experience involving music, lights, and water takes place every 30 minutes starting at 6pm each day. Stroll along the 272m (829ft) floating Dubai Fountain Boardwalk to get up close to the performance, just 9m (29.5ft) from the fountains themselves.

The Dubai Mall

Next to the world’s tallest building, visitors will find the world’s largest shopping center. The Dubai Mall has a number of interesting attractions:

  • 1,200 retail stores
  • 70 signature outlets
  • 2 major department stores
  • Hundreds of food/beverage outlets
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (the world’s largest suspended aquarium)
  • An Olympic-size ice rink
  • A retractable roof that opens during the winter
  • Kidzania, a kids’ entertainment area
  • An indoor cinema complex

The Armani Hotel Dubai

In April 2010, the Armani Hotel Dubai held an elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremony and opened its doors to visitors. This is the first hotel designed by well-known Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Featuring the signature minimalism and understated elegance that Armani is recognized for, the hotel has Japanese wooden flooring, luxurious fabrics, and interiors of muted grays.

  • There are 160 rooms and suites available at the Armani Hotel Dubai, occupying the entire 39th floor of the Burj Khalifa. Each room has been outfitted with custom furnishings and top-of-the-line modern conveniences controlled by iPads. Guests will find soft, comfortable monogrammed robes and Armani toiletries in their rooms as well.
  • At check-in, every guest is welcomed and assigned a personal butler. Another luxurious touch is the individually-designed spa treatments available. Relax with an hour-long body treatment involving a body wrap that combines Armani black silk and and Thai, traditional, and Japanese shiatsu massage.

  • Italian, Japanese, European, Indian, and Mediterranean food dining options can be found at the hotel. The Armani/Ristorante, the hotel’s signature restaurant, offers authentic Italian food but gives it a modern taste; the salt-crusted cod in particular always receives raving reviews.

The Armani Residences

Guests wishing for a more permanent stay in the Burj Khalifa will find 144 Armani Residences suites on Levels 9-16. These suites have access to the shops found at the lobby level, and are done in the same decor style as the Armani Hotel Dubai.

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Ticket prices & admission fees for Burj Khalifa

Ticket prices will vary depending on the time slot you select for your visit and which observation deck you choose.

  • For a Burj Khalifa At The Top ticket to Levels 124 and 125, a visit in non-prime hours – that is, between 09:00-15:30 and 18:30 until close – an adult ticket will cost AED 149 and a child (age 4-12) will cost AED 114. The prime hours for these levels are 16:00 to 18:00, when ticket prices will rise to AED 224 for adults and AED 184 for children. Children under four are free.
  • If you want to make it all the way to the top observation deck, you’ll need a Burj Khalifa At The Top SKY ticket. This will give you access to Level 148 as well as Levels 124 and 125. Guests who aren’t fond of crowds or prefer to save a little money may want to visit in the non-prime hours, 19:00 until closing, which will cost AED 378 for an adult or a child ticket. Prime hours are from 9:30 until 18:00, when the area is much more populated and ticket prices are up to AED 533 for ages 4 and up. Children under four can access this level for free as well.

Be sure to book your tickets in advance so you can avoid the lines as well as save some money on the attractions. Tickets that are bought on-site on the same day are more expensive than those purchased prior.

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The Construction of the World’s Tallest Building

Meant to represent international cooperation and be a beacon of progress, the Burj Khalifa set new construction benchmarks and made Dubai a global city.

The Design of the Burj Khalifa

The most esteemed designers in the world were invited to a design competition, though the honor of designing the Burj Khalifa was ultimately given to the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a global leader in ultra-tall structures. Well-known American architect Adrian Smith was the consulting design partner on the Burj Khalifa.

  • The tower was originally meant to be “only” 518m (1,699.48ft) tall, a mere 10m taller than the tower in Taipei but enough to break the world record. During the design process, an additional 310m (1,017.06ft) was added; that’s roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower. Extensive peer review was done to confirm the effectiveness and safety of the structure.
  • The appearance of the Burj Khalifa is based on the Spider Lily (Hymenocallis) flower, appearing as three sections around a central core. The Spider Lily is natively found in South America, Mexico, and southern states of America.

  • The sections that span around the central core deflect most of the wind. The Y-shaped floor plan allows for maximum views of the Arabian Gulf. As seen from the air, the Burj Khalifa has the onion dome appearance that is seen in much Islamic architecture.

Construction Timeline of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa was meant to be part of a flagship development called Downtown Dubai near the main business district. Just 1,325 days after excavation work started, the Burj Khalifa was the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

  1. January 2004 – Excavation started
  2. February 2004 – Piling started
  3. March 2005 – Superstructure started
  4. June 2006 – Level 50 reached
  5. January 2007 – Level 100 reached
  6. March 2007 – Level 110 reached
  7. April 2007 – Level 120 reached
  8. May 2007 – Level 130 reached
  9. July 2007 – Level 141 reached; world’s tallest building status achieved
  10. September 2007 – Level 150 reached; world’s tallest free-standing structure status achieved
  11. April 2008 – Level 160 reached; world’s tallest man-made structure status achieved
  12. January 2009 – Completion of spire
  13. September 2009 – Completion of exterior cladding
  14. January 2010 – Official launch ceremony

On January 4, 2010, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum revealed the $1.5 billion USD project – the Burj Khalifa. The name for the Burj Khalifa was chosen at the last minute. It was initially named the Burj Dubai; Burj is the word “tower” in Arabic. The name was changed to Burj Khalifa as a way to honor the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Burj Khalifa By The Numbers

The Burj Khalifa has some impressive stats:

  • It can move in any direction 1.5m (4.9ft) in order to withstand seismic activity
  • Over 40 wind tunnel tests were conducted
  • Nearly 26,000 glass panels were hand-cut to be used on the building’s exterior
  • Over 45,000m3 (58,900 cu yd) of concrete were used in the construction of the foundation alone
  • It takes between 3 and 4 months to clean the exterior facade of the Burj Khalifa from top to bottom
  • At the height of construction, there were over 12,000 workers from around the world on site every single day
  • A total of 22 million man-hours were worked over six years before the Burj Khalifa was complete
  • The tower has 200 stories – a record-breaking feat – with 160 of them being habitable
  • The Burj Khalifa is three times the height of Paris’ Eiffel Tower
  • The Burj Khalifa is twice as tall as New York’s Empire State Building
  • Over 1000 art pieces from international artists adorn the Burj Khalifa and the surrounding area of Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
  • The Burj Khalifa has 57 elevators and 8 escalators, some of which are programmed for controlled evacuation during a fire or other security event
  • 31,400 metric tons of rebar were used for the tower
  • If you were to lay each piece of rebar used end-to-end, they would extend over a quarter of the way around the world

Structural Materials Used For The Burj Khalifa

  • The foundation: After extensive seismic and geotechnical studies, the foundation was constructed as a large, thick concrete mat. It was then supported by bored reinforced concrete piles using a high density, low permeability concrete. A cathodic protection system exists under the mat in order to minimize corrosive chemicals in the ground water.
  • Exterior cladding: Almost 26,000 glass panels that were individually hand-cut make up the exterior cladding of the Burj Khalifa along with reflective glazing with aluminum, stainless steel vertical tubular fins, and textured stainless steel spandrel panels. Over 300 cladding specialists were brought in from China to work on the Burj Khalifa. The design of the exterior cladding system allows it to withstand the extreme heat that occurs in Dubai’s summers.

  • The spire: Made from more than 4,000 tons of structural steel, the spire houses communications equipment. The top four floors of the Burj Khalifa have been reserved for the purposes of communications and broadcasting.

  • Mechanical floors: At around every 30 stories there is a mechanical floor; seven double-story height floors throughout the building house the electrical substations, air-handling units, and water tanks. An average of 946,000 litres (250,000 gallons) of water is supplied daily. About 15 million gallons of water is supplemented by collecting condensation and storing it in a holding tank.

What Makes a Tall Building Tall?

To determine what classifies a tall building as being tall, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat created three criteria:

  1. Height to architectural top – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance, all the way to the spire (but not the antennae, flagpoles, signage, or other technical equipment).
  2. Highest occupied floor – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor in the building, excluding any maintenance areas.
  3. Height to tip – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest point, including antennae, flagpoles, signage, or other functional-technical equiment.

The Burj Khalifa wins the title of the world’s tallest building in all three categories.

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Other World Records Held by the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is not just the tallest building in the world; it also holds these other records.

  • Tallest freestanding structure in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world (504m, 1,654ft)
  • Highest number of stories in the world (200 stories)
  • Most floors in a building (163)
  • Highest swimming pool in a building (found on Level 76)
  • Highest restaurant from ground level (441.3m, 1,447ft 10in)
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Highest fireworks on a building (1.6 tonnes, or 3,527lbs of fireworks were released in under 10 minutes from the sides and top of the building on New Year’s Eve 2015)
  • Highest installation of an aluminum and glass facade (512m, 1,679.79ft)

Although the Burj Khalifa has an impressive observation deck 555.7m (1,823ft 1.9in) off the ground, it no longer holds the record for the highest observation deck in the world. In 2015, China opened Shanghai Tower with an observation deck at 561.3m (1,841ft) which now holds the title.

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The Burj Khalifa: A Celebrity Hotspot

Tom Cruise is well-known for performing his own stunts, but perhaps his most impressive was filmed on top of the Burj Khalifa for “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” In November 2010, the adrenaline junkie filmed scenes where he leapt out of a window, rappelled and ran vertically down the building, flew around it on a rope, and climbed up the walls of the tower in a death-defying series of stunts. Other celebrities who have visited the Burj Khalifa include soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria Beckham, singer Mariah Carey, actress Angelina Jolie, singer Madonna, and supermodel Gigi Hadid.

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Burj Khalifa, Dubai | Shopping & Shows at the Tallest Building in the World

Standing at a height of 829.8m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been named the tallest building in the world by the Guinness World Records. The Burj Khalifa may be one of the most prestigious locations in the world, creating an iconic image of the Dubai skyline and drawing crowds of tourists and celebrities from all over the world. Seeing this structure is certainly a bucket list experience for travelers, but so are many of the activities found in and around the Burj Khalifa as well.

Burj Khalifa-Dubai-UAE-view

Things to Do at Burj Khalifa

Not only is the Burj Khalifa an impressive, world-record-shattering building, but it also has so much to offer guests. Visitors can feel both literally and figuratively as if they are on top of the world during their time at the Burj Khalifa.

At The Top

The highest outdoor observatory in the world offers incredible views of Dubai’s skyline at Levels 148, 125, and 124. Access can be found on the lower level of the Dubai Mall. Though the At The Top observation decks give you access to breathtaking views at any time of day, many people find that the best views can be seen just before sunset. Each level offers different experiences.

On Level 124

  • Ride the world’s fastest double-deck elevators (10m/s)
  • Use the high-powered telescopes
  • Walk out on the public outdoor observation terrace to get a better view of the skyline

On Level 125

  • Enjoy the 360-degree views from the spacious deck at 456m (1,496ft)
  • Via virtual reality, experience a thrilling adventure at the top of the Burj Khalifa
  • Use the green screen photography and special effects to capture your time at the Burj Khalifa

On Level 148

  • Experience a personalized tour from a Guest Ambassador
  • Enjoy the refreshments available from the SKY lounge, such as juice or Arabic coffee
  • Explore some of the most famous landmarks in Dubai via an interactive experience using motion senses and a life-size screen
  • Walk on the world’s highest outdoor observation deck at 555m (1,820ft)

At The Top is wheelchair accessible and family-friendly, as well as being safe for expectant mothers. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available throughout these levels. On average, most people find it takes about 90 minutes to enjoy a visit to At The Top, so if you’re planning on watching the sun set be sure to take this into account.

At.Mosphere – Fine Dining on Level 122

For incredible views and delicious food, book a table at At.Mosphere. In less than 45 seconds, the elevator will carry you up to the restaurant featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and luxe leather seats. Opt for the haute cuisine experience of a lifetime by booking a table for dinner, or indulge in the more budget-friendly breakfast or high tea. Breakfast is still quite an experience, with the Decadence menu costing AED 385 per person and including a cold platter, your choice of sweets, and your choice of main course served with veal sausage, smoked beef bacon, and sauteed mushrooms. The A La Carte breakfast menu offers a variety of options, from waffles to coffee-rubbed wagyu minute steak.

  • Tuesday nights at the At.Mosphere Lounge are Ladies Night from 9pm-12am. Starting at AED 200, guests can experience award-winning DJs, entertainment, and unlimited beverages.
  • Enjoy a morning coffee in the clouds from the At.Mosphere Lounge. Guests can sip the signature Kopi Luwak Gold Cappucino, featuring 24-karat gold flakes, or try the mocktail Kopi Luwak Martini.

The Burj Club

Found on Levels 19 to 108, The Residence offers 900 elegant one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments at one of the most sought-after addresses in the world. These affluent tenants live just steps from the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, and can view The Dubai Fountain show from their window. Not only that, they have access to The Burj Club.

  • The Burj Club is a four-story health and wellness club. It includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and a luxury spa. Non-residents can experience the rooftop brunch at the Burj Club, which includes pool access, every Friday from 12pm to 4pm. Brunch rates start at AED 195 for adults and AED 110 for children between the ages of 7-12. Children six and under dine complimentarily.
  • The Burj Club Spa offers specialized treatments such as hydropeptide facials, 30-minute express facials, and caviar collagen brightening treatments. A sauna, steam room, and thermal experience showers are available for spa guests as well.

The Lounge

Adding yet another bucket-list experience, the Burj Khalifa is home to the world’s highest lounge at 585m off the ground. Spanning Levels 152, 153, and 154, the lounge offers four separate events not to be missed.

  • Breakfast in the Clouds offers fresh-baked sandwiches, muffins, croissants, and sweet treats, as well as a tour of the terrace, starting at AED 618.
  • Tea in the Clouds provides guests with a selection of high-quality teas and coffee along with a delicious assortment of desserts and baked goods. This package starts at AED 618.

  • The Bubbly Sundowner provides live entertainment and a tour of the terrace to guests who can watch the sun set as they enjoy a variety of gourmet canapes. Rates start at AED 667.

  • Cocktails Under the Stars is a party on top of the world, featuring a resident singer, a glass of house beverage or bubbly, a tour of the terrace, and gourmet canapes. This package starts at AED 618.

The Dubai Fountain

Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa is another record-breaking structure – the tallest performing fountain in the world, The Dubai Fountain. Up to 22,000 gallons of water can be sprayed as high as 140m (459ft) into the air at any one time.

  • This unique experience involving music, lights, and water takes place every 30 minutes starting at 6pm each day. Stroll along the 272m (829ft) floating Dubai Fountain Boardwalk to get up close to the performance, just 9m (29.5ft) from the fountains themselves.

The Dubai Mall

Next to the world’s tallest building, visitors will find the world’s largest shopping center. The Dubai Mall has a number of interesting attractions:

  • 1,200 retail stores
  • 70 signature outlets
  • 2 major department stores
  • Hundreds of food/beverage outlets
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (the world’s largest suspended aquarium)
  • An Olympic-size ice rink
  • A retractable roof that opens during the winter
  • Kidzania, a kids’ entertainment area
  • An indoor cinema complex

The Armani Hotel Dubai

In April 2010, the Armani Hotel Dubai held an elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremony and opened its doors to visitors. This is the first hotel designed by well-known Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Featuring the signature minimalism and understated elegance that Armani is recognized for, the hotel has Japanese wooden flooring, luxurious fabrics, and interiors of muted grays.

  • There are 160 rooms and suites available at the Armani Hotel Dubai, occupying the entire 39th floor of the Burj Khalifa. Each room has been outfitted with custom furnishings and top-of-the-line modern conveniences controlled by iPads. Guests will find soft, comfortable monogrammed robes and Armani toiletries in their rooms as well.
  • At check-in, every guest is welcomed and assigned a personal butler. Another luxurious touch is the individually-designed spa treatments available. Relax with an hour-long body treatment involving a body wrap that combines Armani black silk and and Thai, traditional, and Japanese shiatsu massage.

  • Italian, Japanese, European, Indian, and Mediterranean food dining options can be found at the hotel. The Armani/Ristorante, the hotel’s signature restaurant, offers authentic Italian food but gives it a modern taste; the salt-crusted cod in particular always receives raving reviews.

The Armani Residences

Guests wishing for a more permanent stay in the Burj Khalifa will find 144 Armani Residences suites on Levels 9-16. These suites have access to the shops found at the lobby level, and are done in the same decor style as the Armani Hotel Dubai.

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Ticket prices & admission fees for Burj Khalifa

Ticket prices will vary depending on the time slot you select for your visit and which observation deck you choose.

  • For a Burj Khalifa At The Top ticket to Levels 124 and 125, a visit in non-prime hours – that is, between 09:00-15:30 and 18:30 until close – an adult ticket will cost AED 149 and a child (age 4-12) will cost AED 114. The prime hours for these levels are 16:00 to 18:00, when ticket prices will rise to AED 224 for adults and AED 184 for children. Children under four are free.
  • If you want to make it all the way to the top observation deck, you’ll need a Burj Khalifa At The Top SKY ticket. This will give you access to Level 148 as well as Levels 124 and 125. Guests who aren’t fond of crowds or prefer to save a little money may want to visit in the non-prime hours, 19:00 until closing, which will cost AED 378 for an adult or a child ticket. Prime hours are from 9:30 until 18:00, when the area is much more populated and ticket prices are up to AED 533 for ages 4 and up. Children under four can access this level for free as well.

Be sure to book your tickets in advance so you can avoid the lines as well as save some money on the attractions. Tickets that are bought on-site on the same day are more expensive than those purchased prior.

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The Construction of the World’s Tallest Building

Meant to represent international cooperation and be a beacon of progress, the Burj Khalifa set new construction benchmarks and made Dubai a global city.

The Design of the Burj Khalifa

The most esteemed designers in the world were invited to a design competition, though the honor of designing the Burj Khalifa was ultimately given to the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a global leader in ultra-tall structures. Well-known American architect Adrian Smith was the consulting design partner on the Burj Khalifa.

  • The tower was originally meant to be “only” 518m (1,699.48ft) tall, a mere 10m taller than the tower in Taipei but enough to break the world record. During the design process, an additional 310m (1,017.06ft) was added; that’s roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower. Extensive peer review was done to confirm the effectiveness and safety of the structure.
  • The appearance of the Burj Khalifa is based on the Spider Lily (Hymenocallis) flower, appearing as three sections around a central core. The Spider Lily is natively found in South America, Mexico, and southern states of America.

  • The sections that span around the central core deflect most of the wind. The Y-shaped floor plan allows for maximum views of the Arabian Gulf. As seen from the air, the Burj Khalifa has the onion dome appearance that is seen in much Islamic architecture.

Construction Timeline of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa was meant to be part of a flagship development called Downtown Dubai near the main business district. Just 1,325 days after excavation work started, the Burj Khalifa was the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

  1. January 2004 – Excavation started
  2. February 2004 – Piling started
  3. March 2005 – Superstructure started
  4. June 2006 – Level 50 reached
  5. January 2007 – Level 100 reached
  6. March 2007 – Level 110 reached
  7. April 2007 – Level 120 reached
  8. May 2007 – Level 130 reached
  9. July 2007 – Level 141 reached; world’s tallest building status achieved
  10. September 2007 – Level 150 reached; world’s tallest free-standing structure status achieved
  11. April 2008 – Level 160 reached; world’s tallest man-made structure status achieved
  12. January 2009 – Completion of spire
  13. September 2009 – Completion of exterior cladding
  14. January 2010 – Official launch ceremony

On January 4, 2010, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum revealed the $1.5 billion USD project – the Burj Khalifa. The name for the Burj Khalifa was chosen at the last minute. It was initially named the Burj Dubai; Burj is the word “tower” in Arabic. The name was changed to Burj Khalifa as a way to honor the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Burj Khalifa By The Numbers

The Burj Khalifa has some impressive stats:

  • It can move in any direction 1.5m (4.9ft) in order to withstand seismic activity
  • Over 40 wind tunnel tests were conducted
  • Nearly 26,000 glass panels were hand-cut to be used on the building’s exterior
  • Over 45,000m3 (58,900 cu yd) of concrete were used in the construction of the foundation alone
  • It takes between 3 and 4 months to clean the exterior facade of the Burj Khalifa from top to bottom
  • At the height of construction, there were over 12,000 workers from around the world on site every single day
  • A total of 22 million man-hours were worked over six years before the Burj Khalifa was complete
  • The tower has 200 stories – a record-breaking feat – with 160 of them being habitable
  • The Burj Khalifa is three times the height of Paris’ Eiffel Tower
  • The Burj Khalifa is twice as tall as New York’s Empire State Building
  • Over 1000 art pieces from international artists adorn the Burj Khalifa and the surrounding area of Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
  • The Burj Khalifa has 57 elevators and 8 escalators, some of which are programmed for controlled evacuation during a fire or other security event
  • 31,400 metric tons of rebar were used for the tower
  • If you were to lay each piece of rebar used end-to-end, they would extend over a quarter of the way around the world

Structural Materials Used For The Burj Khalifa

  • The foundation: After extensive seismic and geotechnical studies, the foundation was constructed as a large, thick concrete mat. It was then supported by bored reinforced concrete piles using a high density, low permeability concrete. A cathodic protection system exists under the mat in order to minimize corrosive chemicals in the ground water.
  • Exterior cladding: Almost 26,000 glass panels that were individually hand-cut make up the exterior cladding of the Burj Khalifa along with reflective glazing with aluminum, stainless steel vertical tubular fins, and textured stainless steel spandrel panels. Over 300 cladding specialists were brought in from China to work on the Burj Khalifa. The design of the exterior cladding system allows it to withstand the extreme heat that occurs in Dubai’s summers.

  • The spire: Made from more than 4,000 tons of structural steel, the spire houses communications equipment. The top four floors of the Burj Khalifa have been reserved for the purposes of communications and broadcasting.

  • Mechanical floors: At around every 30 stories there is a mechanical floor; seven double-story height floors throughout the building house the electrical substations, air-handling units, and water tanks. An average of 946,000 litres (250,000 gallons) of water is supplied daily. About 15 million gallons of water is supplemented by collecting condensation and storing it in a holding tank.

What Makes a Tall Building Tall?

To determine what classifies a tall building as being tall, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat created three criteria:

  1. Height to architectural top – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance, all the way to the spire (but not the antennae, flagpoles, signage, or other technical equipment).
  2. Highest occupied floor – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor in the building, excluding any maintenance areas.
  3. Height to tip – This height is measured from the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest point, including antennae, flagpoles, signage, or other functional-technical equiment.

The Burj Khalifa wins the title of the world’s tallest building in all three categories.

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Other World Records Held by the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is not just the tallest building in the world; it also holds these other records.

  • Tallest freestanding structure in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world (504m, 1,654ft)
  • Highest number of stories in the world (200 stories)
  • Most floors in a building (163)
  • Highest swimming pool in a building (found on Level 76)
  • Highest restaurant from ground level (441.3m, 1,447ft 10in)
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Highest fireworks on a building (1.6 tonnes, or 3,527lbs of fireworks were released in under 10 minutes from the sides and top of the building on New Year’s Eve 2015)
  • Highest installation of an aluminum and glass facade (512m, 1,679.79ft)

Although the Burj Khalifa has an impressive observation deck 555.7m (1,823ft 1.9in) off the ground, it no longer holds the record for the highest observation deck in the world. In 2015, China opened Shanghai Tower with an observation deck at 561.3m (1,841ft) which now holds the title.

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The Burj Khalifa: A Celebrity Hotspot

Tom Cruise is well-known for performing his own stunts, but perhaps his most impressive was filmed on top of the Burj Khalifa for “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” In November 2010, the adrenaline junkie filmed scenes where he leapt out of a window, rappelled and ran vertically down the building, flew around it on a rope, and climbed up the walls of the tower in a death-defying series of stunts. Other celebrities who have visited the Burj Khalifa include soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria Beckham, singer Mariah Carey, actress Angelina Jolie, singer Madonna, and supermodel Gigi Hadid.

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